Tag Archive: chuch


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Built around 1875, St Patrick’s Catholic Church is quite a sight in the little country town of Boorowa.

This was the first Roman Catholic Church to be built west of the Great Dividing Range. Of particular interest are the church’s excellent stained glass windows and its fine altar which was made from imported Italian marble. (SMH).

With a population of just over 2000 now,  I can only imagine what the town was like when this grand church was built. The whole town could fit in to it now.

Saint Patrick's

A little history of Boorowa– The name Boorowa is said to be an Aboriginal word for a native bird, possibly a bush turkey. The first wave of settlers in the area were “squatters” and Irish ex-convicts. The Irish population grew during the 1840s and 1850s, during the Potato Famine, when many Irish fled their own country. Wool and wheat were the foundation stones of the town’s economy and remain so today. (Visit Young)

Boorowa is also home to the The Irish Woolfest. In October each year, this festival celebrates the town’s heritage. The big drawcard is the Running of the Sheep (Boorowa’s answer to Spain’s Running of the Bulls). There’s also a street parade, Irish singers and dancers, pipe bands and hot air ballooning. (Visit NSW). The town’s population explodes over this weekend.

I went for a leisurely drive out to Byng over the Long Weekend. I had been there many years ago and taken photos, but I must have lost the film, because I don’t ever remember seeing the processed prints.

The drive to Byng was interesting in itself. About a third of the trip was dirt, and a couple of kilometres of this were through a large property/farm. I don’t often drive on roads where cattle are free to wander onto the road- I was driving through their paddock!

Byng ChurchI love old churches and cemeteries. The character and architecture of them is stunning and they hold much of the history of long forgotten villages and towns. I am amazed at how many still stand, even though they are over a hundred years old and rarely used any more. The current Byng Uniting church was built in 1872, to replace the Wesleyan Chapel that was a few hundred metres away. I’m not sure what happened to the Chapel, either it became too small for a bustling village or fell down.

Byng Church

The church stone is an acid volcanic rock known as tuff, produced by the consolidation of volcanic ash and other volcanic fragments found around volcanic openings. It is porous and is not subject to salt attack like sandstone. Tuff is a reasonably common local stone and, from a distance, resembles yellowblock sandstone in appearance (More Byng History).

The church has some interesting features, including some intricate sculptural aspects above the windows. It also includes an outdoor toilet, aka a ‘long drop’, out the back.

The CrossAcross the road from the church is the cemetery. The cemetery contains the graves of many early settlers and their descendants. One of the people burried there is William Tom, the first discoverer of gold in Australia.

Some further information on Byng

Byng, near Orange NSW, was originally named ‘Cornish Village’ after the original Cornish settlers who brought the first fruit trees from Cornwall and gave birth to the Orange district’s fruit industry on the ‘Pendarvis’ property. Apples were produced in Byng for over 100 years but now there are mainly cattle, sheep and a little cropping. At its peak, Byng village had around 600 residents.

The Church and the cemetery are all that remain of the original village.

Websites of interest:

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© WaWa by Johnah (Sarah Donoghue)